We’re not many days away from the season premiere of Allsvenskan, and many of us can’t control our excitement. We have been waiting for a long time and we are finally ready to go!
Allsvenskan is not the best league there is, it is not very good at all. But there is still something pulling us towards it and makes us look forward to kick off on Saturday. I will myself go to Gothenburg and see my beloved IFK Göteborg against Malmö FF at ’Nya Ullevi’
Friendlies have been played, transfers have been completed and the fine-tuning at training camps are over.
Every football supporter dreams about their team taking the glory this season. But for the most of us, the idea of gold will remain a dream. It is never easy predicting a winner, but I would be surprised if Malmö FF and AIK would not be the two teams to fight for ’Lennart Johanssons Cup’ when the season ends.
Malmö is a city that breathes for the football performed at ’Swedbank Arena’, we have seen it in Champions League many times. AIK is the main powerhouse of Stockholm and their signing of Henok Goitom this winter is a show of strength. He will surely be a contender for the top scorer title if he manages to stay out of injuries. But is AIK strong enough?
The signings that stick out
Already mentioned Henok Goitom will be an important player for AIK together with Simon Thern on loan from Heerenveen, but they are far from the biggest names in Allsvenskan 2017.
Sporting Director Bosse Anderson of Djurgården, has done an amazing job getting both Kim Källström and Jonas Olsson back home to Sweden from Grasshoppers and West Bromwich Albion. This is two players with plenty of routine from the Swedish national team and should stabilize Djurgården, and improve Allsvenskan as a league.
Jiloan Hamad, with a previous spell in Malmö FF, have also come back to Sweden to restart his career after some bad spells at Hoffenheim and Standard Liege. Hammarby picked up the Azerbaijani-swede after he was snubbed by his old club MFF. Hamad will for sure be a player to keep an eye on this season.
Another interesting signing this winter is Norwegian-American Mikkel ’Mix’ Diskerud for IFK Göteborg. Mix have experience from MLS and the American national team and could be a great signing for IFK, but an interesting factor could be his very eccentric father that could cause all kinds of trouble for the club. Norwegian Henrik Bjørdal comes from Brighton’s U23-team, but could he be a contender for IFKs first team this season?
When on the topic of Göteborg I must mention Erik Friberg who is now back at Häcken. Erik will be an extremely important part of Häckens midfield, which in previous seasons have been quite unstable.
The gap between good and bad
We have seen this in other countries and we see it in Sweden as well. One or more teams mange to ’run away’ and get better and better, making the difference between the bigger and smaller teams enormous.
This year we will see Sirius from Uppsala, AFC from Eskilstuna and Halmstad BK from, yeah, Halmstad. These are relatively small teams who will measure their force with teams with higher budgets, more fans and larger stadiums. It should be a surprise for no one that I’m very concerned with the looks of the different stadiums around. None of the teams have a capacity above 8.000 people, and it is safe to say none of these teams will be anywhere near that number this season.
Worst of them all is AFC. Last season they averaged 698 people in the stands at Skytteholms IP. This season they will play their home matches at Tunavallen in Eskilstuna and we should expect higher numbers. But will the people of Eksilstuna support the team?
So how will the newcomers do? I expect them all to fight against each other in the bottom of the league. I am sure that Sirius will be the best newcomer, but even they are not much to brag about.
Allsvenskan 2017 will again be fantastic to follow. I hope we get to see the same speed and finesse we got to see in 2016. Over 2.5 goals in the matches was as familiar as seeing different groups within the Stockholm clubs give shame to themselves, their team and football in general.
I would like to see a surprise in the form of Djurgården or Östersund. I think this is two teams that deserve more time in the spotlight. Östersund will play the final in ’Svenska Cupen’ against Norrköping at their own arena, so they already have a great chance to shine on 13th of April. The routine and experience Djurgården have signed this winter, makes me think they could have an exciting season.
Hammarby, Örebro and Kalmar are teams that you feel are there mainly to ’fill’ Allsvenskan. I don’t think either of these teams will be in the top or the bottom, so a mid-table position will be where they end up.
I can’t wait until kick off at “Nya Ullevi” on Saturday. I hope as many as possible will get a chance to see this match between the two most successful clubs in Swedish club football.
Allsvenskan 2017, I am ready!